Steelers believe game with Patriots is 'Five Star Matchup'
• Mike Tomlin wasn't about to say anything remotely controversial about the Patriots heading into Sunday's game, but running back Isaac Redman revealed what the Steelers' coach is saying to his team behind the scenes. "Like Coach Tomlin said, it's a five-star matchup because they're in it," Redman said. Tomlin used the phrase 'It's a five-star matchup because we're in it' all throughout the stretch run of the 2008 Super Bowl season when the Steelers faced Dallas, New England, Baltimore and Tennessee in consecutive weeks. "So far this year, we really don't have the respect from a lot of people we've had in the past," Redman said. "So these next upcoming weeks we go out and punch out these wins, and hopefully we'll get the respect we deserve."
• Guard Chris Kemoeatu was fined $25,000 for two penalties against the Cardinals. Kemoeatu was docked $10,000 for a face-mask violation and $15,000 for a late hit on linebacker Paris Lenon. The Steelers have been fined a reported $120,000, with four offensive linemen receiving fines totaling $57,500. Kemoeatu was fined three times for a total of $17,500 last year.
• Hines Ward didn't practice yesterday, but he is optimistic his sprained ankle will feel well enough by Sunday for him to play against the Patriots. "You know I am not trying to miss any ball games," Ward said. "I will do all I can possibly to get out on the field."
• Ward, James Harrison (eye), Chris Hoke (neck), Doug Legursky (toe) and Jason Worilds (calf) all sat out practice yesterday. Casey Hampton fully participated and expects to start Sunday after sitting out three weeks with a shoulder injury. "That's the plan," Hampton said. "If I am out there, I am playing. There will be no limitations."
• Steelers safety Ryan Clark knows what it takes to slow down Patriots receiver Wes Welker -- hit him hard when he gets a chance. "As far as my part, anytime you get guys who are going to catch-and-run and who run a lot of inside routes, you have to pound on them," Clark said. "You have to be physical with them and hit them and have to jam them, and that's what you have to do."
• Troy Polamalu's wife, Theodora, has been getting some publicity on her Twitter account for being critical of her husband. "She's my biggest critic," Polamalu said.